Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 3:00am

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is helping fund a 10-member consortium of Pennsylvania liberal arts colleges as they try to cope with the troubles liberal arts colleges now face. Among the plans colleges have for the $800,000 grant: use teleconferences and the internet to combine low-enrollment classes; share study abroad sites; share staff; and work to reduce health, procurement and other costs. The colleges in the group are: Bryn Mawr College, Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, Haverford College, Juniata College, Muhlenberg College, Swarthmore College, Ursinus College and Washington & Jefferson College.

Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 3:00am

Arizona State University announced Wednesday that it has placed Stewart Ferrin, the officer involved in stopping an African-American female professor who was jaywalking and then body-slamming her into the ground, on paid administrative leave. The university said that a "preliminary review" has found no evidence of racial profiling or excessive force -- both of which have been charged by Ersula Ore, the professor, and her supporters.

The Maricopa County Chapter of the National Action Network, a civil rights organization, announced Wednesday that it has received 11 complaints against Arizona State police officers since the start of 2014, The Arizona Republic reported. An Arizona State spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment about that number.

 

Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 3:00am

The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has added a dozen more colleges and universities to its growing list of institutions being investigated for their handling of sexual assault cases.

The additions bring the total number of colleges included on the list to 67.

In early May, the department took the unprecedented step of publicly naming 55 institutions that investigators are probing to see whether their approach to sexual assault and harassment complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which requires gender equity in education, including proper handling of sexual assault complaints.

“We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights,” Catherine E. Lhamon, the assistant education secretary for civil rights, said in a written statement at the time. “We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue.”

The 12 colleges most recently added to the list are the University of Alaska, Berklee College of Music, Cisco Junior College, Colorado State University, the University of Delaware, Elmira College, James Madison University, Morgan State University, , Missouri University of Science and Technology, the University of Richmond, and Washburn University.

While the list does not contain specific details about the cases, all of the most recent additions are cases opened on or after May 5.

Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Matt Taylor, assistant professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Washington State University, explains how he is teaching computers how to teach. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 7:54am

The U.S. Department of Education failed to reach an agreement with Corinthian Colleges on how to sell or close its 107 campuses, the department said Wednesday. The two sides last month agreed to an initial plan, through which the feds released held financial aid payments to the cash-starved for-profit chain. Announcements of that deal said negotiators would finalize the phasing-out arrangements for Corinthian by July 1. The department said yesterday that the plan remained due by that date.

“While we did not reach an agreement yet with Corinthian officials, we are optimistic that further conversations with the company will produce an acceptable plan in the next few days that protects the interests of students and taxpayers,” said Ted Mitchell, the under secretary of education, in a written statement.

The company said in a statement it continues to work cooperatively with the department and that they expect to have an agreement completed in the next few days.

Mitchell told reporters Wednesday afternoon that there were “no immediate consequences” for missing the July 1 deadline.

“We extended the MOU under which we were operating with them,” he said. “We’re doing a day-by-day extension.”

(Note: this story has been updated to include additional remarks from Mitchell). 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 3:00am

The College Board has issued a statement on behalf of itself and the Educational Testing Service, apologizing for a T-shirt that was made and sold by high school and college teachers who gathered in June to grade Advancement Placement exams in world history. Those who grade the exams have a tradition of creating a T-shirt, but this year's version offended many Asian Americans who were at the event. The T-shirt plays off of the Chinese Communist revolution in ways that struck critics as offensive. (There was a question about it on the AP exam.)

Hyphen Magazine published images of the T-shirt.

"It is unacceptable that one of the AP Exam Readers created a T-shirt that mocked historical events that were the cause of great pain and suffering, and promulgated racist stereotypes that further marginalize a racial minority," said the College Board statement.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 3:00am

The Middle East Studies Association has written to U.S. and Israeli authorities protesting recent Israeli raids on several Palestinian university campuses. The letter states that Israeli authorities have been attacking nonviolent protest and seizing student property. The letter acknowledges that Israel has in recent weeks been searching for three kidnapped Israeli youth (who have since been found, murdered). But the association says that it believes that "collective punishment against educational institutions and their students are never acceptable and cannot be justified." Israeli authorities have said that their military actions in the West Bank in recent weeks had been to try to located the kidnapped youths or to gather intelligence about them.

 

 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 3:00am

A new law took effect in Idaho Tuesday allowing people to carry guns on campuses -- a measure opposed by many faculty leaders and others. In response, Idaho State University -- for the first time -- armed its public safety officers with semi-automatic pistols, Reuters reported.

 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt, the Gregory R. Choppin Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida State University, discusses his work with atomic element number 98: californium. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 3:00am

(Note: A spokeswoman for the Education Department said Tuesday morning that the deadline remains in place and that the plan is due today.)

The U.S. Department of Education apparently has revised its July 1 deadline to reach an agreement with Corinthian Colleges on a plan to sell or close the for-profit chain's 107 campuses and online programs.

Corinthian is facing a severe cash crisis, due in part to a freeze the department last month put on the company's federal aid payments. Then, on June 23, the feds and Corinthian announced a short-term deal, through which the company received $16 million in released payments in exchange for agreeing to work on a phasing-out plan. However, an announcement on the department's website about that preliminary agreement has now been edited, having dropped "no later than July 1" for the final plan's deadline.

"Corinthian is expected to submit details of the plan to the U.S. Department of Education," the statement now says, "and we will update this announcement with the details of the plan in the near future."

The new ambiguity about Corinthian's fate is certain to draw criticism from consumer advocates, California's attorney general and a dozen Democratic U.S. senators, who have called for a halt to the company's recruitment and enrollment of new students. The department, however, has said it is seeking to minimize disruption to Corinthian's 72,000 students. The for-profit said it would struggle to find buyers if new enrollments are suspended. In addition, the federal government could lose as much as $1.2 billion on students' discharged loans if Corinthian shuts down.

The company also announced on Monday that its creditors had freed up an additional $9 million in funding. The banks had held that money after the department froze its payments.

Corinthian owns the Heald College, Everest and WyoTech chains. Experts have said that Heald, which holds regional accreditation, is likely the most valuable to a potential buyer. In a corporate filing Monday the company said its board had voted to sell Heald. The chain enrolls about 13,000 students at its 12 campuses, which are located in California and in other Western states.

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